World premiere of Ken Page’s ‘Sublime Intimacy’ aims to have you asking questions of your love life

Kelly Moffitt – KWMU, Nov 25, 2015

Renowned singer, actor, playwright and St. Louisan Ken Page describes it like this: “There’s a point in the play where one of the characters says ‘It’s like that captain of the football team that you fell in love with or that boy whose green eyes you still see when you close yours…you know the one.’ It’s that thing, that’s what it’s based on.”

The ‘it’ in that description is “Sublime Intimacy,” the name of Page’s new play for Max and Louie Productions, which will have its world premiere on Friday, Dec. 4 at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

The play, which incorporates music and dance, follows five characters who all have some sort of relationship to dancers or dance. Many of the characters are based on people from St. Louis, Page said, including himself.

The idea of “sublime intimacy” came out of a conversation with a friend, Page said.

“We were talking about relationships and how they evolve sometimes past the level that they are qualified under most definitions, even in marriages, even outside of marriages,” Page said.

“Well, he said to me, I think there’s a level that some relationships reach that’s extremely intimate. It is like a sublime intimacy.

“Most of my sublime intimacy relationships have been with friends. Or, people who were romantic involvements that became friends rather than the other way around.”

The idea was formed into a play when Page saw a painting of a dancer at Rothschild’s Antiques. When he bought the painting, he saw that the painter was someone familiar—a professor Page knew from St. Louis. It turned out that the painting was of a Washington University dance student. From there, the idea of a play about dancers and their relationships unfolded.

Page called upon the help of Henry Palkes, the show’s pianist and composer, to help incorporate music into the play. Palkes often works as an accompanist for local dancers, but adding drama to the mix was a new frontier.

“Interpreting movement into sound is the way that the two mediums communicate with one another,” Palkes said of the process. “Adding the third layer of drama on top of it is a big thrill for me.”

Palkes said each character is represented by a different kind of music—from the big sounds of MGM in the ‘30s and ‘40s to baroque music to that of jazz orientation.

“What I’ve loved about the process from all ends, the dance, the choreography, the music and the text, is that it has been a completely creative evolution on every level,” Page said of working with Palkes from the start. “We’ve really worked together to make it all tell the best story of each story, if you will. That to me, in my experience as a director, writer or an actor, is the joy of it, getting to work with other creative people and bring one thing into focus in the end.”

Page and Palkes hope that people come away from the play asking questions of their own lives.

“I hope people will go home and say ‘do I have sublime intimacy in my life?’ and if they don’t ‘Can I still get some?’” Page said. “If they did have it, I want them to know it is okay to remember it. You don’t have to bury it.”

What: Max and Louie Productions Presents Ken Pages’ “Sublime Intimacy”
When: December 4 – 20, 2015, Thursday – Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
Where: Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand Blvd. (at Olive), St. Louis, MO 63103